net zero wind solar
IRENA data suggests wind, together with solar, will dominate future capacity growth. Image: Pixabay

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) have signed a cooperation agreement to join efforts to increase the adoption and deployment of wind and renewable energy worldwide to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

This agreement was signed by IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera and GWEC CEO Ben Backwell on the occasion of the Race to Zero Dialogues, a programme to accelerate progress by governments, industry and other key stakeholders to meet the Paris Agreement, convened by the High-Level Champions for Global Climate Action.

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IRENA’s Global Renewable Outlook report shows that a Paris Agreement compliant future by 2050 requires transformative changes to policy, behaviour and international cooperation.  Renewable technologies such as onshore and offshore wind, as well as energy efficiency measures, can deliver more than 90 per cent of the emission reductions needed while providing net employment and economic gains in the process.

Both IRENA and GWEC recognise that rapid decarbonisation will require a variety of policy shifts and investments, including intensifying renewable energy commitments, resolving market and regulatory barriers, improving access to finance and expanding the pipeline of bankable projects. Around a third of all new renewable power capacity added in 2019 was from wind power and IRENA data suggests wind, together with solar, will dominate future capacity growth.

Addressing policy and investment barriers on international level will help push to net zero

Francesco La Camera, IRENA director general: “Wind energy is a cornerstone of the global energy transformation and with evolving technologies and a strengthening economic case, it will continue to support the world’s low-carbon growth agenda through to mid-century. By blending the knowledge, capabilities and convening power of our two organisations, we can jointly work to address policy and investment barriers and create an enabling environment for wind energy.”

GWEC CEO Ben Backwell added: “On behalf of the global wind industry, we look forward to strengthening our partnership and work with IRENA through the Climate Investment Platform and other important initiatives. It is more important than ever that intergovernmental institutions work collaboratively with industry in pursuit of shared sustainable development goals.

“There is no question that we must urgently take to reduce carbon emissions and act collectively to slow the impacts of climate change, accelerating the development of renewable energy is one of the most effective ways to achieve these objectives. Wind energy, as a scalable, clean and affordable technology, will be critical to supporting countries, companies and other parties on the road to net zero and a green recovery.”

Among other areas, the enhanced cooperation between IRENA and GWEC will focus on: strengthening wind energy project facilitation in the Climate Investment Platform; engaging the wind industry in Industry-Government Dialogues, Investment Forums and other arenas for knowledge exchange; and exploring open-source agreements and project templates for wind projects in emerging markets in order to mitigate legal risks and barriers. The parties agree to work collaboratively to minimise regulatory, legal and administrative barriers to investment in wind and renewable energy, and enhance international dialogues and actions on increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

IRENA’s Global Renewable Outlook is available online.